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The kolomyjka (Ukrainian: кoлoмийкa, Polish: kołomyjka; also referred to as kolomeyka or kolomeike) is a Hutsul music genre that combines a fast paced folk dance and goofy-rhymed verses. It also refers to a type of performance dance developed by the Ukrainian diaspora in North America.
Kolomyjkas are still danced in Ukraine, as a tradition on certain holidays, during festivities, or simply for fun. In Ukraine's rural west, they are popular dances for weddings.
Development in the diaspora
In North America, the kolomyjka is primarily a social dance. Participants form a circle, joining hands. The dance begins with the participants turning the circle, usually counterclockwise, then clockwise, or by forming a spiral. Further into the dance soloists will perform in the centre of the circle.
According to Andriy Nahachewsky, a former professional stage dancer, Director of the Kule Centre for Ukrainian and Canadian Folklore, and Huculak Chair of Ukrainian Culture and Ethnography at the University of Alberta, kolomyjky as practised in Canada are a separate genre of dance from what is known in Ukraine. The diasporic kolomyjka developed from the old country folk dance but with a prevailing influence from stage dancing. Originating in Western Canada in the 1950s and 60s, the kolomyjka is considered the highlight of Ukrainian weddings and dances in Canada: when any attendees who have experience as stage dancers perform their favourite "tricks" involving lifts, spins, high kicks, even building human pyramids. It is a chance for individuals and groups to "show off" their most impressive or dangerous moves so as to entertain the audience and win approval. Nahachewsky suggests that despite being a relatively new tradition the Canadian kolomyjka is an important symbol of Ukrainian culture in Canada and that the dynamism of this type of Ukrainian dance helps to interest young people in Canada in retaining Ukrainian culture.
- Ruslana, Kolomyjka-motives through pop-genre
- Baš, Angelos. 1980. Slovensko ljudsko izročilo: pregled etnologije Slovencev. Ljubljana: Cankarjeva založba, p. 228.
- Mithrush, Fawnda (Spring 2014). "From dancer to academic" (PDF). ACUA Vitae. 19 (1). Edmonton: Alberta Council for the Ukrainian Arts. pp. 16–17. Retrieved 2014-07-26.
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